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Berry Tramel: Oklahoma City Thunder in slight slump but have plenty of time to recover

The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on Here's a recap of today's chat.
by Berry Tramel Modified: January 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm •  Published: January 4, 2013

The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on Here's a recap of today's chat.

NewsOK 10:09 a.m. Hey everyone! Berry will be logging in at 11 a.m., but you can start submitting your questions now.
Berry Tramel 10:47 a.m. Hey, everybody. I'm logged on. So send in your questions and we'll get started soon.
Justin 10:58 a.m. From a diehard OSU fan...GO SOONERS! Makeit a sweep for Oklahoma teams AND keep showing the world the "vaunted" defenses of the SEC are not what they are made out to be.
Berry Tramel 10:59 a.m. Good attitude. I like it. We need more of not just Bedlam unity, but Big 12 unity. Give the SEC credit for this. They bind together and promote each other, from the "SEC! SEC!" chants to the propaganda that comes from the Birmingham office. The Big 12 could use more of that.
Jay 10:59 a.m. Can Andy Reid, if hired, make the Chiefs a respectable team again? They've always been a "fringe" favorite of mine that I hope does well dating back to the years of Derron Cherry and co.
Berry Tramel 11:00 a.m. I like Andy Reid. I like him a lot. But he's got an uphill battle. Someone said the other day that the Chiefs have good tradition. To which I said, WHAT?! The Chiefs have no tradition. They last won a conference title 43 years ago. The year Steve Owens won the Heisman, KC won the Super Bowl. That's how long ago it was. KC seems to have some talent, but the quarterback is shaky. So I dont know. It is an easy division.
Guest 11:01 a.m. Silly question for fun: Who's the best actor (in commercials), in your opinion, among the current/former OSU/OU football coaches? Stoops, Switzer, or Jones? How about former student athletes: Bosworth or Randy Coture (I can't think of any others)?
Berry Tramel 11:02 a.m. I don't know anything about Randy Coture. And I can't remember Bosworth in a commercial. So here you go. Stoops is the worst, and he would admit that. He looks so uncomfortable, I'll bet they had to shoot that thing 50 times. Jones is just himself, which is awesome. Switzer can sort of turn it off and on. So Switzer clearly is the best.
Leonard 11:02 a.m. Indiana in Insight Bowl or Purdue in Dallas. Which was worse?
Berry Tramel 11:03 a.m. Before the game, I said Indiana. First quarter or so, I still said Indiana. But the longer that bowl game went on, I moved over to Purdue. That was one bad football team. Iowa State would beat Purdue 30-14 straight up.
Guest 11:03 a.m. everybody else can have Chip Kelley, I am happy that my Chiefs are getting Andy Reid. IMO he was the best coach available. And btw, I don't even think Chip is the best Kelly to pursue. I would be trying to hire Brian.
Berry Tramel 11:05 a.m. I agree that Andy Reid is a fabulous hire. Andy Reid is an excellent football coach. I'm interested in the Chip Kelly/NFL story. I'm not saying the NFL is wrong for pursuing Kelly. I'm just saying I'm not completely sure what the attraction is. Is it all the spread offense? Why haven't more NFL teams gone to the spread?
Kelly 11:05 a.m. What does the K-State performance tvs. Oregon tell us about OU tonight?
Berry Tramel 11:06 a.m. Oh, I'd say not much. Kansas State is good, but Oregon was better. Oregon was a fabulous team. The Ducks might be the nation's best team. Lost in overtime to Stanford, a great team in its own right.
Rikki 11:06 a.m. Fan breakdown tonight? 50-50?
Berry Tramel 11:07 a.m. Oh, I'd think maybe 55-45 A&M. The Aggies probably have more access to Dallas-based tickets. OU has a huge Dallas presence, but not as big as A&M. It will be close, though.
Guest 11:07 a.m. Candy wrappers can now lie in peace in the Chiefs complex, Pioli is gone.
Berry Tramel 11:08 a.m. What a toxic environment Pioli apparently established in KC. The Kansas City Star story about Todd Haley a year or so ago, the runaway paranoia, what an awful way to run a business. I don't know what will happen with the Chiefs now. Maybe Gary Gibbs and the defensive staff can stay on with Andy Reid.
Jackie 11:08 a.m. How do you explain their Thunder performance against New Jersey?
Berry Tramel 11:09 a.m. 82 games. It's a long season. It's a grinding season. Sometimes you just have a dud. And the Thunder appears to be going through a slight slump anyway, which we saw some last season, too. Have a letdown game when you're not playing great anyway, and that's a ticket to disaster. Plus Joe Johnson got awfully hot.
DS 11:09 a.m. How many yards do you see Manziel putting up against the OU Defense (rushing and passing) ?
Berry Tramel 11:11 a.m. Oh, he'll have a ton. Let's see, I'd guess around 200 passing and 100 rushing. So I'd guess 300 total offense. But yards don't really mean much. Manziel could have 225 total yards and put up five touchdowns. He could have 400 total yards and put up two touchdowns. The key is red-zone stops -- make A&M kick field goals -- and getting off the field. Let A&M have two first downs and a series in which it gains 35 yards, but ends in a punt, that's a great defensive series for the Sooners.
Guest 11:11 a.m. Will you tell Darnell and some Thunder fans to chill. Yes the Thunder played terribly the other night and some bad habits have crept up, but the Thunder are angry about how they played and recognize the bad habits are creeping up. But it is early January and it is a long season and there is no way the Thunder could sustain the high level of play they were playing during the winning streak. The Thunder will be fine, nobody needs to go "banannas."
Berry Tramel 11:12 a.m. I largely agree. It's a long season. The Thunder still has the league's best record. There are things to work on, but it's Jan. 4, not April 4. Plenty of time to work on them. Move the ball. Rotate defensively. Get the substitution rotations down.
Chris 11:13 a.m. 2 quick questions. Do you see Randle going in 3rd or 4th round? I think he should come back. What say you? :) Thanks. Also do you believe OSU will be better in the secondary next year than they were this year?
Berry Tramel 11:14 a.m. Here's the deal on Randle. I don't see him improving his draft status a lot. Running backs go where they're going to go. So then it's a personal decision. Does he like college? Does he like playing football at OSU? Does he have some personal financial demands? That's what it should come down to. If he's having a good time, I'd stay. If he's "meh," then I'd go.
Don Paczosa 11:14 a.m. How much advantage does our receivers have on their dbs?
Berry Tramel 11:15 a.m. If you're talking about OU receivers vs. A&M DBs, then I think the Sooners have a big edge. The Aggies have not played a high-powered passing game, have they? Didn't play Georgia. Florida and LSU were offensively-challenged. Bama is more of a power attack. Now, with that said, it's not like A&M hasn't seen it before. The Aggies saw this year last year, so even though it's a new staff, the players have that experience.
Guest 11:15 a.m. Did everybody go as gaga over the Big 8 when Neb,OU and Colo finished 1,2,3 as they do now with the worship of the SEC SEC SEC?
Berry Tramel 11:17 a.m. No, because nobody went gaga in 1971. We were a kinder, gentler place in 1971. No ESPN. No talk radio. No Internet. Think about that. Whatever hype existed lived in three places: newspapers, the local news, the ABC Game of the Week, and I do mean Game of the Week. One -- ONE! -- college football game televised per year. It wasn't a conference bias thing. It was a cultural thing.
Chris 11:17 a.m. Will Marcus Smart lead OSU to a Sweet 16 this year!?
Berry Tramel 11:18 a.m. Excellent question. I think it's a tossup. Looks to me like OSU is headed for 4-5-6 seed territory, which means the Cowboys will have a winnable game in the round of 32, but tough. So way too early to tell. But OSU will be in the running.
Justin 11:18 a.m. If the Browns hire Kelly, would it be crazy to say B Weeden to the Chiefs
Berry Tramel 11:19 a.m. Yes. You don't see quarterbacks traded very often. Now, if Kelly goes to Cleveland, Weeden probably is doomed in Cleveland. Heck, Colt McCoy might be Kelly's pick at QB. So I guess it's possible that the Browns could engage a trade with KC. But unlikely. Extremely unlikely. NFL trades are just so rare.
Tom 11:19 a.m. Serious question. If Stoops continues to lose an average of 3 games a year, how long will he be allowed to stay at OU?
Berry Tramel 11:20 a.m. Serious answer. 2027.
Guest 11:20 a.m. What do you do with the first pick if you are the Chiefs? Obviously a QB is needed, but I don't think any QB's merit the number one overall selection. Who is the best overall prosepct?
Berry Tramel 11:21 a.m. I don't know. Maybe one of those southern pass rushers -- Bjoern Werner of Florida State or Jarvin Jones of Georgia. Or if the offensive line needs patching, the A&M tackle, Luke Joeckel, is highly-touted. You can never go wrong fortifying the interior.
harry man 11:22 a.m. a year=season of no rumors of bob stoops and the NFL...I wonder WHY
Berry Tramel 11:23 a.m. Because Stoops' NFL star has slipped. Other people have emerged. Chip Kelly, primarily. Bill O'Brien. People like that.
harry man 11:23 a.m. can A&M def. stop what is called the Bulldozer? yes...what ya think mr. tramel
Berry Tramel 11:24 a.m. No, they can't stop the Belldozer. Stopping the Belldozer has very little to do with OU winning or losing. Most defenses can't stop 3rd-and-1 and 3rd-and-2 no matter what kind of play is run. The key to stopping OU is keeping the 'Dozer off the field. Third-and-short is the way to success. Third-and-5 is the way to failure.
Guest 11:25 a.m. Are the Cavs cutting their nose despite their face with their ridiculous demands for Varajao? Due to the position they are in, IMO he is more valuable if he can get them a good young prospect or draft pick. As good as he is, he is not helping them win enough games to matter now so why not try to use him to get better in the future?
Berry Tramel 11:26 a.m. No one is going to give you a good deal if you don't demand it. In other words, no NBA team is going to offer more than you demand. Plus, the market for Varejao will only increase. Cleveland's leverage will improve the close we get to the trade deadline. There is no reason for the Cavs to be in a hurry.
Guest 11:26 a.m. Did I hear right today on the radio I think I heard if Landry can lead the Sooners to victory tonight he will be the first QB to win four bowl games is that right????
Berry Tramel 11:27 a.m. Third in college football history, I believe. West Virginia's Pat White went 4-0 in the 2000s and E.J. Manual just finished off a 4-0 bowl record with Florida State. If there are others, they haven't come to the forefront.
Guest 11:27 a.m. Have you changed you opinion of Reggie vs Maynor?
Berry Tramel 11:28 a.m. Not really. Maynor has played terrible, but I haven't seen much out of Jackson at the point. He's been effective as an off guard, getting in the rotation, but running the squad at point guard, I haven't seen much out of Jackson. I think that's still a problem. If the playoffs started today, and the Thunder needed eight minutes of backup point guard play, my vote goes for Maynor.
Guest 11:29 a.m. Perry Jones seems to have a long way to go. I have watched some of him in Tulsa and he even looks lost in the D League. He shows flashes to show his talent, but he needs to "figure things out"
Berry Tramel 11:30 a.m. Probably just needs to play. Play every game in Tulsa he can and practice every day in OKC that he can. And he still might not make it. There's a reason he fell to 27th or 28th or whatever it was in the draft. He's a longshot. But he cost virtually nothing.
Berry Tramel 11:30 a.m. OK, great questions, guys. Enjoy the games tonight.
by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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